writing west midlands
Our third and second to last Tell Me On A Sunday is about to start, and the Ikon cafe is filling up quickly. This event is proving so popular that we’re turning people away. If you’re planning on coming to the last one on May 27th, make sure you book to get a table, even if you’re not planning to order food from the lovely Ikon Cafe.
Tonight’s storytellers are: Gauri Raje, Ryan Jones, Polly Tisdall, David Howat, Cath Edwards and Helen Watson. The evening is curated by the national storytelling laureate, Katrice Horsley, who is also telling her own story. Tonight’s theme is Feathers and Bones and we can’t wait to hear what comes out.
THE TIME IS ALMOST UPON US…
The Festival programme is complete and will soon be winging its way to you (if you are on our mailing list) and will be available as a pdf here from Wednesday 10 August 2011. You will also be able to peruse the events diary and click through to our box office here, or go to our box office directly once events are on sale. We are using MAC’s ticketing services – and we are confident that this will make your booking experience smooth and cost effective – there are no booking fees!
Once the programme is released look out for special offers, giveaways and more – follow us on twitter (@bhambookfest) and like our Facebook page to get the latest.
WIN TICKETS TO SEE OUR FESTIVAL BOOK AUTHOR, JENN ASHWORTH.
We are delighted to be featuring Jenn Ashworth’s second novel, Cold Light as our Festival Book. This means we will be featuring Jenn in the festival and talking about the book here. We’d love to know what you think of Cold Light.
We are offering you the chance to win tickets to meet Jenn and hear her talk about the book on 16th October 2011. To win, send us your review of Cold Light, (no more than 300 words, please) via email@example.com. The best two reviews will win a pair of tickets to meet Jenn at the event, get your books signed and ask her any burning questions you have about Cold Light! You have until 1 October 2011 to submit your review.
If you don’t have a copy of Cold Light, you can buy one here.
Saturday’s relay was a great success. We careened around the West Midlands in a minibus, racing through high streets and across parks to perform our poems in relay. All of our poets made it to their alloted destinations, all of them wrote their 20 lines, and we released ten pigeons from the brilliant Project Pigeon who raced back to Birmingham and determined the final order of the poem.
As the day wore on we lost time, gained it back, grabbed cups of tea where we could, infiltrated cinema queues and park festivals, performed live on Touch FM, entertained a pub garden full of walkers on the Malvern hills, and delighted the security guards and station managers at Stoke station. Kids on bikes helped us release our pigeons, elderly wanderers took a quick rest to listen to us in Bromyard, and dog show enthusiasts got more than they bargained for in Polesworth.
It was a fantastic day of surprises, laughs, rushing around and excellent poetry. All of our poets responded to their task in different and interesting ways, and the words we got to know well by the end of the day seemed ever more relevant as the band of merry poets grew.
- Unsuspecting walkers at Malvern
However, a relay is still a race, and we must tell you the results!
Our ten pigeons arrived safely back on saturday evening, and once they had a quick rest they revealed the order in which our poems returned. The full poem will be written up for you soon, but here is the final order as they flew in…
- Hatton Country World’s poem by Helen Yendall came in first.
- Second was Bromyard’s ode, by sack-racing Deborah Alma.
- Next in was Burton-On-Trent’s ode to beer, by Philip Monks.
- Fourth was Telford Odeon’s poem about the art of queuing by aptly dressed Dave Reeves.
- Fifth was Adrian Johnson’s poem for the Malvern Hills about cycling.
- Sixth was Polesworth, with Malcolm Dewhirst’s poem for the park.
- Seventh was the place it all began, Stoke on Trent, with Emma Purshouse’s imagining of Platform Diving.
- Eighth was our final venue, Stafford, with Roz Goddard’s offering on pies and snorkelling.
- Ninth was Worcester’s stain glass making ode, by Rohit Ballal.
- Tenth was Kurly McGeachie’s poem for Highley, hot coal shovelling!
- The pigeons take flight
- A bus full of poets!
Here are a couple of pictures of the day, but watch this space as the team from Monty Funk , who followed us around for the entire 12 hours recording, will be producing some audio/interactive content for us – to mark the day and build a lasting legacy as we head towards London 2012.
Gracious thanks to all of our venues, poets (special mention to Emma P, who was first on the bus and performed her poem no less than TEN times) and team – we all had a wonderful day, and the weather held.
Particular thanks to London 2012 and Arts Council England for inspiring and supporting the venture.
Tomorrow we embark upon the maddest event we’ve ever attempted (and we are known for having odd ideas).
The Great West Midlands Poetry Relay is a big ask, but we are so excited to be doing it. We want to thank, and wish luck to, everyone who has agreed to be involved.
Our poets, Emma Purshouse, Philip Monks, Malcolm Dewhirst, Helen Yendall, Rohit Ballal, Adrian Johnson, Deborah Alma, Kurly McGeachie, Dave Reeves and Roz Goddard – we can’t wait to hear your poems and hope you’ve packed your sandwiches and got your comfortable travelling clothes on ready to step onto the poetry bus. The bus will be packed with snacks, pens, paper and other things required to keep ten poets alive for twelve hours.
We’re also delighted to be working with the guys over at Monty Funk who are coming with us and recording audio all day that they will then edit into a series of podcasts about the Relay – you’ll be able to experience the poems long after the day’s events are over. They will be available online and even mapped so you can download them in the places they were created.
Thanks are also due to our friends at Project Pigeon
We also want to thank our venues, all ten of them, without whom this wouldn’t be happening. We can’t wait to see how the shoppers at Hatton Country World or the cinema goers at Telford Odeon react to our bus rolling up and the inevitable outpouring of poets.
Lastly, thanks are due to Arts Council England and the Cultural Olympiad Open Weekend team for supporting the event.
We will be LIVE BLOGGING tomorrow on this site – as often as we get signal, we will be updating to let you know where we are along the route, how big and unruly the poem is becoming and who has been travel sick.
Lastly, we’ll be on BBC Radio WM tonight after 9pm, on the Loyd Williams show, and on BBC Radio Stoke tomorrow at 7.15am talking about the Relay, so listen out for us.
That’s it for now – we’re off to polish the megaphone and pack the bus!
To celebrate the Cultural Olympiad Open Weekend on Saturday 23rd July 2011, ten poets will complete a poetry relay across ten locations in the West Midlands.. This will take the form of public events in different venues, including stations, libraries, Polesworth Park, Hatton Country World, a motorway service station and the Pie and Ale Pub in Stafford.
At the first location, poet A will write and perform to an audience the first segment of a collective poem. They will then join a team minibus and be taken to location two. There poet B will read the first segment and continue in that vein, writing their own segment. Then poets A and B will each perform to an audience. They will then be taken to the third location, where they will be joined by Poet C. The team of poets and segments of the poem will grow until ten segments and ten events are completed. All the finished pieces will then be attached to ten racing pigeons from Project Pigeon who will be released to carry the ten segments of the poem back to their Birmingham loft. The order in which they arrive back will determine the final manifestation of the poem.
|8am||Stoke On Trent, Railway Station, Booking Hall, ST4 2AA||http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/sot/details.html|
|9.15am||Burton On Trent, Library||http://www.istaffordshire.co.uk/profile/282991/Burton-on-Trent/Burton-Library/|
|10.15am||Polesworth Abbey Green Park – as part of Love Abbey Green event with Touch FM, B78 1DU||http://www.loveparksweek.org.uk/Whats-on-detail.aspx?EventID=85eb71fa-46e0-40cb-a6db-1c9abc2266e8&County=Warwickshire|
|11.40am||Hatton Country World, Toffee Shop, CV35 8XA||http://www.hattonworld.com/shoppingvillage/|
|13.10pm||Worcester Arts Workshop – Cafe Bliss, WR1 1RU||http://www.worcesterartsworkshop.org.uk/aboutus.asp?menuID=Cafe%20Bliss|
|14.30pm||Malvern Hills – British Camp (Herefordshire Beacon) car park||http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=wr136dw&hl=en&ll=52.063573,-2.345753&spn=0.018864,0.038581&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=18.61907,39.506836&z=15|
|16.05pm||Bromyard Town Green – behind the Public Hall near St Peter’s Churchyard
|17.15pm||Highley – Severn Centre forecourt, WV16 6JG||http://www.severncentre.co.uk/index.htm|
|18:20pm||Telford Odeon, Forgegate, TF3 4NE||http://www.nationalvenues.co.uk/shropshire/telford/telfordodeon.htm|
|19:35pm||The Pie and Ale House, Crabbery Street, Stafford, ST16 2BA||http://www.pieandale.com/|
Here’s a google map of the day!
Come along to celebrate the Cultural Olympiad and get involved in the creation of the relay poem which will be inspired by each place the poets visit and the concept of a relay race!
Follow the relay on twitter (@gwmpr) and see where we are along our route!
We are very excited here. It is less than two weeks until we enjoy two whole days of books, writers, chatting about books and writers, sharing ideas, networking, workshops, and of course a few quirky things too.
Coming up next week:
On Friday 8th April, the BBF team will be out and about in the city, at Birmingham Cathedral and Birmingham Library, asking you to get involved in a writing installation. So if you see us, stop by and say hello! We *might* be carrying chocolate…
Give & Take is a new feature of the Festival, too. It’s simple – you bring along to events any books you no longer want, and donate them to the G&T bin. You are then welcome to help yourself to a book from the bin.
Anticipation is building…
The event most people seem to be talking about is Project Pigeon’s writing workshop – in their actual pigeon loft in Digbeth. Far from being a cold and unwelcoming space, this is a friendly, informative, enlightening place where the project’s curators, Alex and Ian, are eager to talk to people about the pursuit of social change they are on, (and introduce us to the baby pigeons they’ve hatched this month). A place full of story and history, atmosphere and personality, inspiration will not be hard to come by.
We’re also getting excited about the fantastic John Hegley, who will be making us laugh and think on Sunday evening and closing the festival is style. That’s right after we celebrate the third birthday of indpendent press Nine Arches with readings from several of their poets . That’s a whole night of excellent poetry, cake and conversation.
Launching The Daily Spring Thing
To celebrate the Spring Thing, and the rich literary fabric here in Birmingham, we are launching The Birmingham Book Festival Newspaper. This is a free paper that will be published every day during both Festivals of the year. So, in preparation for the Spring Thing, issue one is ready. In it you will find plenty of information about events, advice on planning your weekend depending on your writing/reading interests, and yes, there is even a gossip column. Heaven knows what’ll go in that…
Issue Two will be published on the morning of the Saturday of the Spring Thing, and will be packed with information about the weekend ahead. It will include, among other things, an interview with crime writer Sophie Hannah, who is joining us on Saturday to eat cake and talk about the messy business of writing about murder and mystery.
Now to choose the cake…
Sunday April 10th 2011
Writer Networking Meeting
Free! No need to book / 2-3.15pm / Seminar Room, Birmingham Conservatoire, Paradise Place, Birmingham B3 3HG
Guest Speaker: Stuart Evers.
Are you a writer living or working in the West Midlands? Come along and meet others, drink tea and discuss ideas. Stuart Evers is a former editor and bookseller turned fiction writer.
You can access his blog at the link above, or follow him on twitter, @stuartevers.
With thanks to Writing West Midlands.
Saturday 9th April 2011
The Writing Squads – Live!
Free – no need to book / 2.15pm / Arena Foyer, Birmingham Conservatoire, Paradise Place, Birmingham B3 3HG
Members of Writing West Midlands’ young creative writing groups ‘The Writing Squads’ come together to share some of the work they have developed with professional writers over the last few months. Poetry, short stories, mini-plays - there are no rules!
Join them, and writer Helen Calcutt, for a showcase of new young voices.
This event is FREE and there is no need to book.
The Writing Squads are a project of Writing West Midlands and are ongoing. For more information, go to their website.
**Please note for free events tickets are subject to availability on the day .**